Heritage, while it often constitutes and defines the most positive
aspects of culture, is a malleable body of historical text subject
to interpretation and easily twisted into myth. When it is appealed
to on a national or ethnic level in reactions against racial,
religious, or economic oppression, the result is often
highly-charged political contention or conflict. The extraordinary
theme of this unique book is how the rise of a manifold,
crusade-like obsession with tradition and inheritance--both
physical and cultural--can lead to either good or evil. In a
balanced account of the pros and cons of the rhetoric and spoils of
heritage--on the one hand cultural identity and unity, on the
other, potential holy war--David Lowenthal discusses the myriad
uses and abuses of historical appropriation and offers a rare and
accessible account of a concept at once familiar and fraught with
complexity. David Lowenthal is Emeritus Professor of Geography at
University College London, and the author of the bestselling The
Past is a Foreign Country (Cambridge, 1985)
Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
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